The Sweetwater Animal Shelter is currently closed and will remain closed for at least one week, until Monday, April 23, 2012, due to a recent outbreak of Parvo in the shelter.
"There have been a large number of Parvo cases in Nolan County recently both in my office, as well as at the East Ridge Veterinary Hospital," said Dr. Bud E. Alldredge, Veterinarian and owner of Sweetwater Veterinary Hospital. Dr. Alldredge is also the Nolan County Rabies Control Officer.
A large part of the pet population that recently came in to the Sweetwater Animal Shelter were also infected with Parvo, which may have caused more infections in other dogs coming in to the shelter. "We were recently dealing with a contamination situation in the shelter," said Sweetwater Animal Control Officer Donald Kite.
As part of the situation, Dr. Alldredge and Chief of Police Jim Kelley have advised Kite to shut down the shelter for one week for a decontamination process. "Don has been advised to shut down the shelter so that we can make sure that no healthy dogs coming in to the shelter have a chance to contract the disease," said Dr. Alldredge. "We don't want to adopt a dog out of the shelter and it become sick a week later with the disease."
Parvo is a common and potentially serious viral disease in dogs. The virus is officially known as Parvovirus. The disease caused by this virus is commonly referred to as Parvo. The virus first appeared clinically in 1978, and there was a widespread epidemic in dogs of all ages.
According to Dr. Alldredge, Parvo is most common in young, unvaccinated dogs. The disease attacks the stomach, causing many symptoms. First the dog suffers from depression, then vomiting and diarrhea (sometimes bloody and very foul-smelling) ensue and the dog becomes lethargic. "Sometimes the dog can dehydrate before the diarrhea even begins," said Dr. Alldredge. "Prevention is the secret."
Make sure all females that will potentially be bred be vaccinated against the disease and all puppies need to receive their vaccinations as well, just as children receive vaccinations to prevent diseases.
Initial vaccinations needed for puppies include Distemper, Parvovirus and of course Rabies, as it is required by law to have pets vaccinated for Rabies.
To further prevent future outbreaks and closing of the shelter, all animals going into the shelter will first have to be examined by Dr. Alldredge before entry. Sick animals will have to be euthanized immediately and healthy animals will be placed in the Sweetwater Animal Shelter. No animals will be picked up by Sweetwater Animal Control this week due to the decontamination process at the shelter.